Injury Forces Ding Ning Withdrawal, Fan Zhendong Regains Title
Courtesy of ITTF
October 25, 2015 – Thrilling semi-finals in both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Polish Open in Warsaw on the morning and early afternoon of Sunday October 25th but as matters came to a conclusion for the packed house in the Ursynow Arena there was an anti-climax.
In the final of the Women’s Singles event, having lost the opening two games in an all-Chinese affair, Ding Ning, the top seed, was forced to withdraw from proceedings with a shoulder injury (12-10, 11-5, 11-0, 11-0); a lull in proceedings but that lull was only temporary respite.
Two years ago when the tournament was staged in Spala, Fan Zhendong, 16 years old at the time, had created a sensation by winning his first ever ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title, he beat colleague Zhou Yu in the final.
Now, two years later it was somewhat role reversal for the man who has established himself as the master of the counter top spin art; he was the no.3 seed in the final, his adversary was the man on fire, the no.23 seed, Austria’s Stefan Fegerl.
The 27 year old was in the form of his life, accepted there had been more than the usual number of withdrawals owing to injury but the top six players on the current Men’s World Ranking list were all enrolled; the elite of the very elite was on duty.
Memories of Werner Schlager
Eventually the verdict went to Fan Zhendong but when the two stood level at 7-all in the deciding seventh game, one wondered if the heroic’s of Stefan Fegerl’s countryman, Werner Schlager at the Liebherr 2003 World Championships in Paris, were to be repeated.
It was not to be; Fan Zhendong secured the next four points and victory to claim the fifth ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title of his career in five final appearances.
Conversely, for Stefan Fegerl, it was his first ever ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles final; it was defeat but he knows now that he can compete on even terms with the very best the sport has to offer.
The meeting in Warsaw was the first in an international competition between Fan Zhendong and Stefan Fegerl.
Meanwhile, for Liu Shiwen, it was her 22nd success in 34 ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles finals; for Ding Ning her 10th defeat in 20 final appearance.
Overall it was the 131st time that an ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title had finished in Chinese hands, for the women, the 142nd occasion.
- Men’s Singles Final
FAN Zhendong (CHN) def. Stefan FEGERL (AUT) 4-3 (11-1,9-11,9-11,11-3,11-7,8-11,11-7)
- Women’s Singles Final
LIU Shiwen (CHN) def. DING Ning (CHN) : injured 4-0 (12-10,11-5,11-0,11-0)
- Men’s Doubles Final
KARLSSON Kristian (SWE) / KARLSSON Mattias (SWE) def. DYJAS Jakub (POL) / GORAK Daniel (POL) 3-1(11-9,8-11,11-6,11-9)
- Women’s Doubles Final
DING Ning (CHN) / ZHU Yuling (CHN) def. FENG Tianwei (SIN) / YU Mengyu (SIN) 3-0 (11-9,11-3,11-7)
- U21 Men’s Singles Final
Jakub DYJAS (POL) def. LAM Siu Hang (HKG) 3-0 (11-9,11-7,11-5)
- U21 Women’s Singles Final
HIRANO Miu (JPN) def. SATO Hitomi (JPN) 3-2 (11-7,11-6,6-11,5-11,11-7)